Since my birthday was this week and the years are passing by, I thought I would share birthday stories with you with regards to food allergies.
The photos that I found from my earliest birthday were from my second birthday when I spent it with my mom and grandmother in Florida. I guess that is where this Allergic Traveler got the travel bug from. I learned from an early age, that food allergies should not stop you from seeing the world. I am glad I did that trip as it was the first of many to Florida. It was also a fact finding trip for my grandmother as she ended up buying a condo in Tampa. I have some many wonderful memories from there, I am glad it all started with my second birthday!
Over the years, birthdays were always fun for me. My mother would always make an egg free and nut free cake. I have no idea if it was good or not. I have no idea if it was moist or not. I just know that we never ate sweets at home so birthdays were extra special because it meant I could eat cake. Frankly it could have tasted like saw dust and I still would have been happy. The best food is that which is made with love.
Birthdays at school were a little hard, but not much. When I was a kid, not every kid brought in cake for their birthday. It only happened once in a while. I always knew I could not eat it. It doesn’t really faze you as you get used to it. I remember being upset one day though and my teacher told me she could relate as she was allergic to bananas. I remember saying “Who cares about bananas? I told her I would be happy to give up bananas for a chocolate triple layered cake.” She was simply speechless. Nevertheless I did survive birthdays. I remember one kid brought me a candy bar as they knew I could not eat the cake they brought in. I don’t remember who the kid was, or the parent but I do remember being brought to tears as no one had ever included me before. When you have food allergies you get used to making a brave face so people don’t feel bad that they excluded you. When in reality any simple inclusion goes a long way.
One of my best birthdays was spent with my father and my best friend in NYC. Dad asked me what I wanted for my 16th, and without missing a beat I said I wanted to go to the Big Apple! We saw a show, we ate at some great restaurants and we explored the city. What I remember most about this trip was how much we laughed. I have no idea where we ate; it was not a big deal to me. I remember the food being good but I can tell you I remember the ambiance more than the food. Food has always been a necessity for me but not an experience.
So here’s to my mom and dad, and all the parents out there, for trying to make their allergic child’s birthday extra special.
Author: Tarah Jakubiak
After working for 20 years in the corporate world, Tarah Jakubiak founded Allergic Traveler. Jakubiak, president of Allergic Traveler has traveled the world since the age of two. She has been to 25 countries and 34 states. Jakubiak has been to all inclusives, gone on cruises, gone camping; backpacking through Europe, gone to the big cities, and little hidden gems. She has multiple food allergies but it does not stop her from seeing the world. Jakubiak is allergic to eggs, nuts, mushroom, soy, garlic, corn, sesame, potatoes, celery, shellfish, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many fruits. She is originally from Montreal, Quebec and now lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband.